A bookstore dedicated to illustration in Montreal, a new record store in Brussels, a squat in Rome, the punkest of concert venues in Los Angeles: from Paris to Tokyo, Berlin, London and Montreal, check out our list of 25 places to visit in 2017. Hint: we’ve slipped in a few spots from our new Indie Guides that are about to come out in the next few months!
The Music Inn, NY (US)
Set in the diverse West Village neighborhood, where jazz and live music venues are a-plenty, Music Inn is definitely a nice break from the NYC norm. When you first walk in the shop it’s not uncommon to hear instruments being tuned or played, or to catch a conversation with musicians in the downstairs area. The shop is very intimately sized, with rows and rows of world music instruments lining the walls and hanging from the ceiling. Here you’ll find harps, sitars, guitars, maracas, and a large selection of drums and bongos on the lower level. The main floor of the shop houses a modest selection of well-organized, second-hand vinyls at exceptional prices.
Re:Surgo, Berlin (Germany)
Re:Surgo! is a screen print atelier set up in 2001 by artists Anna Hellsgaard and Christian Gfeller. Over the years the duo has collaborated with many different artists to create small runs of zines, illustrations… Huge originals adorn the walls so the experience is part shop, part exhibition.
Pete’s Candy Store, Brooklyn (US)
A beautiful venue for acoustic and quieter bands, the wooden ceiling and side benches give you the sense of being in a railway car full of other musical passengers. Pete’s has been a stalwart of the Brooklyn music scene for years and is one of the nicest places to see a band, whether local or traveling. In addition, there’s an inviting back garden and front bar serving unpretentious cocktails and delicious sandwiches.
Les Grands Voisins, Paris (France)
What used to be a public hospital now provides accommodation for people in need and space for associations and creative individuals… and it’s also the only campside inside the city! Check Les Grands Voisins’ Facebook page to see the schedule as there’s always something going on, be it a concert, a DJ set, a movie night…
The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, Brooklyn (US)
Want to pretend you are on a cruise, or maybe have retired to Florida to the most fashionable vacation colony ever? Think fresh, delicious tropical drinks served in mason jars and shuffleboard courts for rent by the hour (don’t worry, the employees dressed in perfectly white uniforms will show you the proper way to play). Royal Palms is like a mini-tropical getaway in the gentrifying, industrial neighborhood of Gowanus. Don’t feel up to the strenuous sport of shuffleboard? Relax in a tented cabana and sip your mai tai. Don’t miss the hallucinatory flamingo wallpaper in the women’s restroom.
Balades Sonores Brussels, Brussels (Belgium)
La Fabrique Balades Sonores little sister in Paris, Balades Sonores Brussels is Brussels’ newest record shop and our new favorite one! Facing legendary concert venue Le Botanique, the store organises an instore show every Friday evening.
BIG LOVE, Tokyo (Japan)
Located on floor 3F of a building at the outskirts of Harajuku, this record store definitely knows how to attract the indie crowd. The shop is run by Masashi Naka, founder of the eponymous label, who notably released albums from Ariel Pink, Salem, The XX, Cold Cave and SFV Acid. All these albums set the tone for this indie record shop which has a nice selection of CDs, vinyls and tapes. At the back of the store, you can also find a small bar where you can enjoy “Shiga Kogen”, a local, small-label craft beer. Big love to Big Love ❤
Boros Collection, Berlin (Germany)
Christian Boros transformed an old bomb shelter built by the Nazis into a place showcasing his contemporary art collection. Expect to be shocked, surprised and amazed by some of the wildest, most inventive artworks you’ve ever seen. On this pic, you can see one of Michael Sailstorfer’s installations: a popcorn machine which for the past four years has contentedly churned out kernels!
Moth Club, London (UK)
Run by the people behind the Shacklewell Arms, The Moth Club is an ex-servicemen’s members club located in the heart of Hackney. Today it hosts concerts, bingo and karaoke nights, comedy events… Check the calendar, the programmation is to die for!
Six D.O.G.S, Athens (Greece)
It’ been a tough year for Athens. A lot of cultural places closed down but Six D.O.G.S. is still here and that’s one thing we can be happy about. Six D.O.G.S. is an all day and all night entertainment center, conjoining a music venue, a project space, a bar, a foyer and an (amazing) outdoor garden. It hosts an average of 500+ events every year and it is mostly known as one of the primary concert spaces for the alternative Greek indie and/or experimental music scene.
The Smell, Los Angeles (US)
LA beloved punk venue is still under threat of closure but hasn’t lost his activist spirit!
1944 Gallery, Shop, Vegan Coffee, Paris (France)
Founded by designer Paula Garcia Marcos (aka Purpurine), 1944 is a boutique, vegan café, and art gallery. In addition to Purpurine’s beautifully designed ceramics, you can find the latest collections from many of her fellow designers, including hand-made silk-screen fashion from Chicamancha and notebooks by Señorita Sandwich. Parisian designers also mingle with their Spanish counterparts, with vintage lamps from Agnès Lion, jewelry from Anastasia Auther, and more.
Tropico, Barcelona (Spain)
You’ll find Tropico in the oldest neighborhood of Barcelona. Once inside, you’re off on a tour of the world! From Latin America to the Middle East and Asia, a taste bud explosion is guaranteed. Açaï, arepas, huevos rancheros, ceviche: each dish is as exciting as the next. Try the delicious msemen (Moroccan crepes) served with goat cheese, honey, scrambled eggs and cilantro. Treat yourself to one of the most copious and surprising brunch menus of Barcelona!
Peyote, Istanbul (Turkey)
Peyote is at the heart of Istanbul’s underground scene and a perfect venue for an alternative night out. With three separate floors, each section takes on a different purpose. The first floor is a favorite for young people as live electronic DJ performances are put on by artists across the subcultural spectrum. The second floor is an important place for the local scene as most Turkish indie bands have played a concert here at least once. Another smaller stage hosts big talents such as Replikas, DDR, Nekropsi, Sakareller, Proudpilot, and others. Peyote is also a music label supporting all these bands and many more like them. After gigs, everyone gathers on the terrace which can become quite crowded, making it an ideal spot for hanging out with a mug of cold beer. Drop by the headquarters of the Turkish underground to discover the best sounds of the city.
BAR, Rotterdam (Netherlands)
Every bar is different, but this bar is different every other day. Open to crazy ideas and run with an emphasis on fun, BAR changes with each event. Bingo, gay parties, or a full blown dinner show – nothing is ever the same. On weekends, the venue bursts your eardrums with all kinds of progressive electronic music, from Acid Arab tracks to Turkish disco. If you’re looking for a bit more fun and games, BAR has a ping pong table, fussball, and a selection of board games!
180g, Montreal (Canada)
Lined with low-rise industrial brick buildings, the dead-end, pot-holed rue Waverly isn’t the first place that pops into one’s head when imagining the ideal cafe and record shop. Yet, here we find a gem in the charming, succinct energy that 180g offers to both coffee and music lovers. Even as the newest arrival among Montreal’s prime record shops, it’s certainly one of the most charming for those looking to browse a quaint, yet diverse selection of music with a cup of locally-roasted Saint-Henri coffee. Grab a sandwich for lunch, or take advantage of the WiFi to spend a few hours working within its bright, minimalist quarters. Just remember to reward yourself with a few record-browsing breaks in between.
Fargo, Helsinki (Finland)
Scandinavian furniture, Nordic decorative items, retro lighting made in the North, industrial furnishings, neon, musical instruments, posters…at Fargo, they’ve combed through the entire world of the 50s, 60s and 70s to bring you things both weird and beautiful. Among the curiosities, you might find movie theatre seats, bicycles, old school board games, vintage clothing, books, and a selection of CDs, cassette tapes, and vinyl – mostly psychedelic rock from the 70s with lots of Jimi Hendrix alongside electro like Kraftwerk. It’s a real treasure trove created by two people who love vintage, and have been working in the field since the early 2000s. They also put on little “Live Music and Vintage” events (mostly folk, country and swing) from time to time.
MAAM, Rome (Italy)
In 2009, a collective began to occupy this old abandoned factory in order to offer people with accommodation problems a roof over their heads. The space – originally called Metropoliz and renamed “mestizo city” by its inhabitants – became home to Italians, Romans, South Americans and Africans, who all contributed in turning it into a museum: the Metropoliz Museum of the Other and the Elsewhere (MAAM). As this little community developed over time, artists were invited to decorate the immense structure and actively participate in life at the squat. The result is quite incredible and definitely worth the slight detour. Sure, you have to take two buses to reach MAAM, but worth it!
Crew Hassan, Lisbon (Portugal)
The cultural, non-profit association Crew Hassan was born in 2004. Originally it was located Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, 159, right next to the Lisbon Coliseum, offering a cultural haven in the city center. But the location was closed down suddenly, and after many years some people had begun to think they would never find the good vibes of Crew Hassan again. They clearly underestimated the crew’s perseverance: Crew Hassan just opened a new place in Rua Andrade, 8A, near to Mercado do Forno Tejolo, between Intendente and Anjos. The goal hasn’t changed and everything that made Crew Hassan a cultural icon is still intact: the new location hosts various cultural events, new concepts and artists. From emerging performances to yoga classes, from jam sessions to international bands – the spectrum of events knows no bounds. What’s more, this 500-m2 culture, leisure and entertainment venue also serves up vegetarian meals and great drinks. If you like DIY projects conceived by a bunch of passionate people, you’ve come to the right place.
Drawn & Quarterly, Montreal (Canada)
More than just a bookstore, Drawn & Quarterly is above all one of the most recognized publishing houses in the world for graphic novels, comics, and illustrated books, making it a place of pilgrimage for anyone who loves illustration. The publishing house made independent comic book authors such as Julie Doucet and Chris Ware known all over the world. Even illustration novices will discover their love for these beautiful books with shelves abounding in new, rare and independent editions, curated selections, and obscure titles (mostly in English).
Picnic, Madrid (Spain)
Picnic might become your favorite place to hang out both day and night. It’s an ideal spot to warm up the engines before a long night out, to relax with a cup of tea, or just to stop by and see what’s going on in the basement, where they organize stand up, short films, and open mic sessions. The retro and slightly kitsch decor makes for a warm and dreamy atmosphere. Their homemade cakes are also popular in the neighborhood.
Tender Loving Empire, Portland (US)
An indie record label and handmade goods shop, Tender Loving Empire (TLE) is dedicated to supporting independent musicians, writers, and artists in Portland. TLE is a celebration of pure delight: wander in, absorb the humorous printed cards from local letterpresses, fawn over delicate metalwork jewelry, and discover a new artist making waves in the local scene.
Vacation, San Francisco (US)
In the unlikely quarter of Tenderloin liquor stores and strip clubs, Vacation is an island boutique of vintage clothing and other thrifty odds and ends. Part of a youthful network of musicians and visual artists, Vacation regularly hosts concerts and art shows. Their basement is a lovely all-ages performance space where you can catch monthly rock shows with the young and beautiful of SF!
TOZD, Ljubljana (Slovenia)
It’s impossible not to fall under the spell of this adorably decorated bar: from the ashtrays proudly displaying the logo of the legendary Yugoslavian Filter 57 cigarettes, to the recycled radios and TVs, the orange mugs, fixies and longboards, this place is dripping with nostalgia.
Dulce de Leche, Valencia (Spain)
While the decor looks more like Berlin or Scandinavia, the dishes here are quite clearly Argentinian! Stop by this local favorite bakery and treat yourself to croissants, bagels, and sweet or savory tarts. The star of the menu? The Dulce de leche, a traditional Argentinian confection made with sweetened milk that you’ll find in lots of their pastries!
Discover our favorite cultural and alternative spots all around the world with our city guides Indie Guides.